To try Regina's recipe for timpano, the elaborate, multi-layered savory pastry, click here.
Once I meet someone and they discover that I am a chef, a natural question soon enters into our conversation: "What is your specialty?" I know my immediate response: "Southern Cuisine with a French Influence." As true as that statement is, I am a closeted Italian chef, and oh, Mediterranean, love it, and Thai, absolutely. Okay, I love food and I love to cook. I am a Southern chef and a consummate Southerner but I do love everything about Italy and France, especially the Southern regions of these countries.
I have many personal theories about food that often have no scientific basis and because of that could possibly cause controversy with my readers. With that said, here comes one: I think the food in the South of many countries is typically better, with very memorable dishes. The United States, Italy, and France are good examples. Am I biased? Absolutely.
Let's start with the Southern U.S., which gave us biscuits, fried chicken, gumbo, pecan pie, cornbread, hush puppies, and shrimp and grits, to name just a few. Southern France's contributions are also abundant. In the southwest they have prepared duck, foie gras, prunes, oysters, mushrooms, and truffles just about every way imaginable, and they give you rich red Bordeaux wine to go with it. How can you not admire a region that gave us confit de canard, foie gras, and pruneaux d'Agen (the crème de le crème of dried fruit)? Southeast France is the area of olives, olive oil, herbs, tomatoes, and garlic—a fantastic combination of ingredients, so ratatouille was destined to be the dish of the region. Then there is the south of France, and one word says it all— bouillabaisse.